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Baby dies days after Clearwater woman gives birth while smoking crack cocaine

Woman ditches baby in bushes after giving birth
Posted: 11:20 AM, Apr 06, 2017
Updated: 2017-04-18 14:05:46Z

UPDATE | Clearwater Police says the baby involved in this incident has died. The child passed away on Friday at St. Joseph's Hospital and an autopsy was completed the same day. Police are awaiting autopsy results before announcing any upgrade in charges. 

ORIGINAL STORY | A Clearwater woman is in jail after police say she gave birth to a child at a home while smoking crack-cocaine.

Arrest records show 24-year-old Katrina Kegelman now faces a child neglect charge and her charges could be upgraded after the baby passed away on Friday.

The report shows she gave birth to the child on Monday on a back patio and hid the baby in the backyard.

"I couldn't imagine doing that with my baby," said Carrie Meeks, who lives in the home where Kegelman left the baby.

Meeks says she noticed Kegelman walking near her home and let her inside to give her clean clothes and a place to shower.

Records show Kegelman is a transient, with no permanent address.

Meeks noticed Kegelman was in labor and offered to take her to a hospital, but by the time she went in to call for help and stepped back outside, Kegelman had already given birth.

Meeks noticed blood on her pants, the baby tucked inside.

She says Kegelman pleaded with her not to call 911, so she told her instead she was calling a friend and stepped away to call for an ambulance.

That's when she says Kegelman hid the baby under a plant in her backyard.

According to the affidavit, she later admitted to police that she was afraid she'd be arrested for the baby's death and had smoked crack just moments before giving birth.

"There's not a drug in this world that could have made me stash my baby in the bushes and then lie to people and tell them it's not there," said Meeks.

Fire rescue arrived at the home where Kegelman at first wouldn't say where the baby was, but eventually pointed towards the backyard. 

The baby boy was transported to the hospital immediately and later died at St. Joseph's Hospital on Saturday, April 15th. 

Kegelman was also taken to a hospital after giving birth and was arrested Wednesday after admitting to the incident.

Records show she bonded out of jail early Thursday morning.